Tag Archives: privacy files

As Patriot Act Debated, Privacy Tools More Accessible

Other than civil liberties activists, people never used to get too agitated over privacy issues.  Edward Snowden’s revelations changed all that and it’s possible you were one of the protesters in San Francisco that went to the Sunset Vigil on May 21st to demand that Senator Dianne Feinstein let a section of the Patriot Act expire on June 1st. Regardless,  people around...

Privacy Files: Score One for The Caliphate

A bill to reform the mass surveillance practices of the National Security Agency died in the U.S. Senate last week without debate and without a vote. The main reason opponents of the bill gave for their opposition? “The Caliphate (aka Islamic State, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, etc.) is coming, the Caliphate is coming.” Like a modern day Paul Revere, Georgia...

Privacy Files: Summer of Fear

The fearmongers have been working overtime this summer. From Men in Black to mysterious Malaysian airliners; from Donetsk to Raqqa, Ferguson to Gaza, Rio to the streets of the Mission, we’ve had it all: invasions, be-headings, relentless drought, combat-ready cops, massacres, and a killer virus on the loose. It was not the Summer of Love. The score? An NBC News/Wall...

Privacy Files: To Your Health

The human body may be the New Frontier. Commercially speaking. As a data farmer, I watched the value of my body (digitally speaking) rise on the futures market Wednesday with the introduction of Apple Watch with its new play in the health&fitness space, HealthKit. In the avalanche of media covering the product rollout, only the New York Times seemed to...

Privacy Files: On The Eastern Front

Bad enough the NSA is scooping up our cybertrash and the Titans of Tech are cashing in on the data farms we once called “personal life.” Now The New York Times reports: A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email...

PRIVACY FILES: Supreme Court Rules

The Supreme Court has ruled that warrantless searches of cell phones incident to an arrest has been ruled impermissible under the Fourth Amendment. The Court’s unanimous decision is being read as a significant win for civil liberties and the rights of the individual in the digital age.  Said Chief Justice Roberts: “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry...

Privacy Files: “It’s Getting Worse”

Last week, San Francisco hosted the GigaOm Structure, a conference for cloud developers, users, hackers, spies and the usual suspects with their heads in the clouds. Brad Smith, General Counsel for Microsoft spoke on Data Privacy and Security. “One of the fundamental prerequisites of being in the cloud business,” he said, “is you must offer services that people trust.” And...

Privacy Files: Promiscuous Voyeurism

Iraq is back in the news. Citizen Romney is worried Americans may lose all we gained there after eight years of invasion, occupation and graft. Very disturbing. One of our “gains” from Iraq, not under attack by jihadists, is domestic mass surveillance. General Keith (“Haystack”) Alexander first tried out his “collect it all” spy strategy in Iraq. It was so...

Privacy Files: More To/From Facebook

Hi Mark, We’re improving ads based on apps and sites you use, and giving you more control. Learn more. Thanks, The Facebook Team Hi Facebook Team, Thanks for the heads up. I understand people tell you the one thing they want from Facebook is more personalized advertising. Really? No longer offering advertisers what I do in the Facebook universe (like...

Privacy Files: Paranoia Strikes Deep

“Paranoia strikes deep Into your life it will creep It starts when you’re always afraid Step out of line, the man come and take you away” — Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth” At the same time the Snowden leaks deepened our knowledge of the National Security Agency’s “collect it all” mass surveillance programs, it also fueled our paranoia. We...

Privacy Files: Snowden Anniversary Events

One year ago today, the Guardian printed the first of many reports on the U.S. government’s mass spying activities based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Two very different events will mark the occasion. The first, reported earlier here, is the campaign to Reset the Net. Part of a global movement to reclaim individual privacy...

Privacy Files: The Snowden Effect, Part II

Tonight Frontline runs the second part of “United States of Secrets,” a documentary about the growth of mass surveillance since 9/11. Part Two focuses on how the National Security Agency has used and abused its relationship with Big Tech. Not only does the N.S.A. depend on the tech firms to access the latest technology, it also takes advantage of the...

Privacy Files: The Snowden Effect, Part I

  In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the Electronic Freedom Foundation grades tech firms on efforts taken to protect users from government spying. “The sunlight brought about by a year’s worth of Snowden leaks appears to have prompted dozens of companies to improve their policies when it comes to giving user data to the government,” said EFF Activism Director...

Privacy Files: Rights “Completely Eliminated”

  Jammer Jaffer of the ACLU comments on two legal briefs filed by the U.S. government defending the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act, the 2008 law that codified the Bush administration’s warrantless-wiretapping program. In making its defense, the government claims The privacy rights of US persons in international communications are significantly diminished, if not completely eliminated, when those communications...

Privacy Files: What Me Worry?

  President Obama and Mrs. Pelosi tell us the mass surveillance program (a.k.a. the Panopticon, the Dragnet) operated by the National Security Agency targets only “the bad guys.” General Keith Alexander explains they can only find a needle in the haystack if they have the haystack. The bad guys haven’t been found yet, so the haystack keeps growing. Is that...